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Linux Magazine:Instant Messaging for Linux

Mar 17, 2001, 12:00 (10 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jason Perlow)

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"Surprisingly, what 2001: A Space Odyssey could not predict was the rise of the information revolution and the Internet. In 1968, we were in the middle of a huge space race with the Russians to send a man to the moon. We were more concerned with building nuclear weapons and fighting a cold war against communism than we were with the spread of information. If he was making the movie today, I think Kubrick would have had Dr. Floyd fire up his laptop and contact his daughter via chat using high-speed wireless Internet. Audiences of 1968 were impressed with videophones and a base on the moon. Would they have been as impressed with a housebound society that bought everything it wanted over the Web? I don't know. At least they'd be happy to know our computers aren't psychotic."

"While some of the aforementioned future advancements haven't yet come to fruition, some have. For example, everyone could have had videophones years ago. So how come nobody has them (except for the yuppie freaks that bought them from the Sharper Image a few years back)? Well for starters, most people don't like being caught off guard wearing their jockey shorts -- I certainly don't. As it stands, two-way video communication seems to be reserved for teleconferencing, where groups of people from afar meet under controlled circumstances. In most respects however, people want their privacy. But if you absolutely have to contact somebody instantaneously, and e-mail just doesn't give you the warm and fuzzy feeling of knowing you have somebody captive for a few minutes, nothing beats Instant Messaging (IM) -- and you can safely do it in your jockey shorts."

"Before my editor gets royally pissed with me for writing the remainder of my column about something completely unrelated to Linux, I have to tell you that IM isn't just for Windows; there's a whole world of messaging clients waiting for you to try out. So, let's get rolling."

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